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Submission + - Google executive kidnapped ( 2

An anonymous reader writes: Egyptian plainclothes wearing buzzcut men kidnapped a
google marketing executive yesterday for tweeting about the
government. Google had since opened a telephone to tweet
service. His whereabouts are still unknown.
Photo link:

The Courts

ACS: Law Withdraws Pursuing Illegal File-Sharers 105

Necroloth writes "As mentioned previously on Slashdot, ACS: Law has been sending out letters to thousands of alleged file-sharers on behalf on its client, MediaCAT. However, solicitor Andrew Crossley has now ceased all work on such cases, citing criminal attacks and death threats. Judge Birss doesn't seem to be taken by this, and comments, 'I am getting the impression with every twist and turn since I started looking at these cases that there is a desire to avoid any judicial scrutiny.' Judge Birss is expected to deliver his judgment on the case later in the week... perhaps all is not lost in the British judicial system."

African Villages Glow With Renewable Energy 172

Peace Corps Online writes "The NY Times reports that as small-scale renewable energy becomes cheaper, more reliable and more efficient, it is providing the first drops of modern power to people who live far from slow-growing electricity grids and fuel pipelines in developing countries playing an epic, transformative role. With the advent of cheap solar panels and high-efficiency LED lights, which can light a room with just 4 watts of power instead of 60, these small solar systems now deliver useful electricity at a price that even the poor can afford. 'You're seeing herders in Inner Mongolia with solar cells on top of their yurts,' says energy adviser Dana Younger. In addition to small solar projects, renewable energy technologies designed for the poor include simple subterranean biogas chambers that make fuel and electricity from the manure of a few cows, and 'mini' hydroelectric dams that can harness the power of a local river for an entire village. 'It's a phenomenon that's sweeping the world; a huge number of these systems are being installed,' says Younger."

Survey Shows That Fox News Makes You Less Informed Screenshot-sm 1352

A survey of American voters by World Public Opinion shows that Fox News viewers are significantly more misinformed than consumers of news from other sources. One of the most interesting questions was about President Obama's birthplace. 63 percent of Fox viewers believe Obama was not born in the US (or that it is unclear). In 2003 a similar study about the Iraq war showed that Fox viewers were once again less knowledgeable on the subject than average. Let the flame war begin!
The Military

Submission + - Devil Dogs use Solar Power in Afghanistan

Ponca City, We Love You writes: "US Marines, long known as innovators, are using cutting-edge energy technology that promises to make them leaner, meaner and a whole lot greener as the NY Times reports that in Afghanistan, with enemy fighters increasingly attacking American fuel supply convoys crossing the Khyber Pass from Pakistan, the military is pushing aggressively to develop, test and deploy renewable energy to decrease its need to transport fossil fuels. “Fossil fuel is the No. 1 thing we import to Afghanistan,” says Ray Mabus, the Navy secretary, “and guarding that fuel is keeping the troops from doing what they were sent there to do, to fight or engage local people.” The 150 Marines of Company I, Third Battalion, Fifth Marines, will be the first to take renewable technology into a battle zone, bringing portable solar panels that fold up into boxes; energy-conserving lights; solar tent shields that provide shade and electricity; solar chargers for computers and communications equipment replacing diesel and kerosene-based fuels that would ordinarily generate power to run their encampment. The new goal of the Devil Dogs is to make the more peripheral sites sustain themselves with the kind of renewable technology carried by Company I, since solar electricity can be generated right on the battlefield. The renewable technology that will power Company I costs about $50,000 to $70,000; a single diesel generator costs several thousand dollars. But when it costs hundreds of dollars to get each gallon of traditional fuel to base camps in Afghanistan, the investment is quickly defrayed. “It’s going to make Marines more lethal because they will be able to move from one place to the other without having to wait for a logistics convoy to follow them around on the battlefield,” says Capt. Adorjan Ferenczy, an engineer officer at the Marine Corps Warfighting Lab."

Submission + - Research aims to ease large-scale network control (

coondoggie writes: Simplifying large scale network environments is a complex task but one that a number of researchers and vendors are trying to undertake. This week researchers from Google, Nicira Networks and NEC under the guise of the International Computer Science Institute (ICSI) at UC Berkeley will present a research project at this week's USENIX Symposium on Operating Systems Design and Implementation they are working on that they say will simplify network control and management implementations.

When Rewriting an App Actually Makes Sense 289

vlangber writes "Joel Spolsky wrote a famous blog post back in 2000 called 'Things You Should Never Do, Part I,' where he wrote the following: '[T]he single worst strategic mistake that any software company can make: They decided to rewrite the code from scratch.' Here is a story about a software company that decided to rewrite their application from scratch, and their experiences from that process."

CBS and CNN Could Be Making News Together 124

crimeandpunishment writes "More proof of the profound impact cable, the Internet, and other outlets have had on broadcast news organizations. CBS and CNN, who have danced around the idea of a partnership for years, may be ready to move forward. Both news organizations have a lot at stake. Broadcast network news has a gloomy financial outlook, and CNN's ratings need a jump-start."

Austria Converts Phone Booths To EV Chargers 161

separsons writes "Telekom Austria, a telecommunications company, aims to convert obsolete public phone booths into electric vehicle recharging stations. The company unveiled its first station yesterday in Vienna and hopes to create 29 more stations by the end of the year. The stations may not be super popular now, but they should be soon; Austria's motor vehicle association says the country will likely have 405,000 electric vehicles on the road by the year 2020."

Journalism Students Assigned To Write On Wikipedia 138

Hugh Pickens writes "eCampus News reports that at the University of Denver, journalism students are assigned to write Wikipedia entries as part of a curriculum that stresses online writing and content creation, and students have so far composed 24 Wikipedia articles this year, covering topics from the gold standard to the San Juan Mountains to bimetallism, an antiquated monetary standard. Journalism instructors Lynn Schofield Clark and Christof Demont-Heinrich say students are told to check their sourcing carefully, just as they would for an assignment at a local newspaper. 'Students are leery about mentioning Wikipedia, because they might be subjected to criticism. But I tell them it's an online source of knowledge that just has some information that might be questionable, but that doesn't mean you have to dismiss all of [its content],' says Demont-Heinrich, who first assigned the Wikipedia writing to students in his introductory course taught during the university's recent winter semester. He said the Wikipedia entries didn't require old-school shoe leather reporting — because the online encyclopedia bars the use of original quotes — but they teach students how to thoroughly research a topic before publishing to a site that has over 350 million unique visitors and gets over 10 billion page views a month. 'I see journalism as being completely online within the next two to five years,' says Demont-Heinrich. 'If you're not trained to expect that and write for that, then you're not going to be ready for the work world.'"

High Fructose Corn Syrup Causes Bigger Weight Gain In Rats 542

krou writes "In an experiment conducted by a Princeton University team, 'Rats with access to high-fructose corn syrup gained significantly more weight than those with access to table sugar, even when their overall caloric intake was the same.' Long-term consumption also 'led to abnormal increases in body fat, especially in the abdomen, and a rise in circulating blood fats called triglycerides.' Psychology professor Bart Hoebel commented that 'When rats are drinking high-fructose corn syrup at levels well below those in soda pop, they're becoming obese — every single one, across the board. Even when rats are fed a high-fat diet, you don't see this; they don't all gain extra weight.'"

Submission + - Dell DataSafe All Your Data R Belong To Us

An anonymous reader writes: I just found this amusing and thought I would share, I purchased a Dell system a while back and it came with a year long datasafe account. Fortunately I never used the service to store any sensitive data as I prefer to retain control over my own data management. What I found amusing is that I recently started to receive emails, the first of 7 in the last week alone attached below;

Your Dell DataSafe Online account was deactivated. In 15 days you will not be able to recover your files in the case of an unexpected emergency.

Dear *******,
Unfortunately your account was deactivated on 1/22/2010. You must call Dell customer support at to renew your account and recover your files.
Do not risk losing your memories or expensive music collection. Renew your subscription now.

Frequently Asked Questions
Dell Privacy Policy
Need assistance? Call us at 877-218-1671
I believe its apt to call it datasafe as Dells ethics (or lack thereof) seem to parallel the conduct of the banking industry of late, where your money is secure from everyone bar the banks themselves.
Does this sort of scare tactic really work with the average user?

Submission + - Were the Dinosaurs Failures? 2

Hugh Pickens writes: "Scott D. Sampson writes in Scientific American that although dinosaurs are frequently cited as the ultimate exemplars of failure, the death a species, and even groups of species, is almost inevitable. Over the past half-billion years, there have been five major mass extinctions, and scientists says that only one in a thousand species that have ever lived survives today. Dinosaurs had a long run existing for 160 million years before a giant asteroid slammed into the Gulf of Mexico in the most recent mass extinction. "By comparison, we humans have been around a mere 200,000 years or so, and our small clan of bipedal primate cousins originated about six million years ago," writes Sampson. "In other words, dinosaurs are a great success story rather than a bunch of prehistoric washouts." Sampson says that humans tend to ignore the dramatic comings and goings of organisms through the geologic ages, and lacking a meaningful sense of deep time, tend to lump all pre-human life-forms into a single box labeled “extinct". This time around, a single species — Homo sapiens — has become the external force driving the decimation of millions of other species — the asteroid colliding with the planet. "It’s simply ridiculous to thumb our noses at dinosaurs and laugh derisively at their present-day absence," says Sampson. "We might as well speak contemptuously of our great grandparents; after all, they’re no longer with us.""

Japan To Standardize Electric Vehicle Chargers 240

JoshuaInNippon writes "Four major Japanese car manufacturers and one power company (Mitsubishi, Nissan, Subaru, Toyota, and Tokyo Electric) have teamed up with over 150 business and government entities in Japan to form a group to promote standardization in electric vehicle chargers and charging stations. The group hopes to leverage current Japanese electric vehicle technology and spread standardization throughout the country, as well as aim towards worldwide acceptance of their standardized charger model. In a very Japanese manner, the group has decided to call themselves 'CHAdeMO,' a play on the English words 'charge' and 'move,' as well as a Japanese pun that encourages tea-drinking while waiting the 15+ minutes it will take to charge one's vehicle battery."

European Parliament Declaring War Against ACTA 307

An anonymous reader writes "The European Parliament is preparing to take on ACTA. A joint resolution (DOC) has been tabled by the major EP parties that threatens to go to court unless things change. The EP is calling for public access to negotiation texts and rules out further confidential negotiations. Moreover, the EP wants a ban on imposing a three-strikes model, assurances that ACTA will not result in personal searches at the border, and an ACTA impact assessment on fundamental rights and data protection."

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This is clearly another case of too many mad scientists, and not enough hunchbacks.